African American Art | Hunter Museum of American Art 7.0.33-0+deb9u10
Bar and Grill, 1941 Jacob Lawrence (b 1917 ) Gouache on paper 16 3/4 x 22 3/4 in. (42.5 x 57.8 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Henry Ward Ranger through the National Academy of Design 2010.52

African American Art

Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond

On View February 14, 2014 - May 25, 2014

This exhibition presents a selection of paintings, sculpture, prints, and photographs by forty-three black artists who explored the African American experience from the Harlem Renaissance through the Civil Rights era and the decades beyond, which saw tremendous social and political changes. In response, these artists created an image of America that recognizes individuals and community and acknowledges the role of art in celebrating the multivalent nature of American society. More than half the works are being shown for the first time. The exhibit includes James Van der Zee’s portraits of elegant New Yorkers in the 1920s, Jacob Lawrence’s exploration of the struggle for economic and civil rights, Sargent Johnson’s depiction of the heritage of Africa and Romare Bearden’s recasting of Christian themes in terms of the black experience.

Learn more about this exhibition from Smithsonian American Art Museum Chief Curator Virginia Mecklenburg:

Click here for an exclusive radio interview

Click here for a special lecture

African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum with generous support from:

Alston & Bird

Amherst Holdings, LLC

Diane and Norman Bernstein Foundation

Larry Irving and Leslie Wiley

William R. Kenan, Jr. Endowment Fund

Clarence Otis and Jacqui Bradley


The C.F. Foundation in Atlanta supports the museum’s traveling exhibition program, Treasures to Go.

The exhibit is additionally sponsored by Kitty and Hacker Caldwell, former Chair of the Smithsonian National Board, Commissioner of Smithsonian American Art Museum, and former Chair of the Hunter Museum of American Art.


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